Desktop guide suggestion - deemphasise GNOME at the start

Looking at the desktop guide, I’ve always been surprised about the first two items that appear:

Getting started with GNOME
New to GNOME? Learn how to get around.

Visual overview of GNOME
A visual overview of your desktop, the top bar, and the Activities overview.

In my opinion, the leading help article should be “Getting started with Ubuntu”. People may not know that they’ve installed GNOME. We can teach that, but it shouldn’t come first.


Thanks for pointing it out. It’s a valid observation, indeed. The explanation is that the Ubuntu Desktop Guide mostly consists of Gnome Help, and even if it is possible to replace GNOME Help pages with Ubuntu specific ones, it adds to the maintenance burden.

I’ll make a mental note about it.

Understood - and I assumed that this was the reason. Am more than happy to assist with the drafting.

Have you had any further thoughts about this @gunnarhj ? I would hate to be stuck for another 10 years because of this :slight_smile:

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I think that the little videos shown only fit to the pure GNOME workflow.
With the dock everything is a little easier. Why point the users to a hot corner that is not even activated in Ubuntu? And so on. I think the whole thing needs different videos.

Maybe @madsrh could help here?

@timClicks: Replacing “GNOME” with “Ubuntu” on the index page wouldn’t need a draft. The difficulties lies in how the desktop guide is made up. It consists of a combination of three packages:

  • gnome-user-docs
  • gnome-getting-started-docs
  • ubuntu-docs

In short we’d need to fork one page from gnome-user-docs and one page from gnome-getting-started-docs, add them to ubuntu-docs and edit the forked pages there. So this tiny change of a couple of strings isn’t trivial to implement.

Nevertheless, I’m still planning to do it in connection with the package updates for 20.04, since I agree that mentioning “GNOME” in such a prominent place may be confusing to the users.

Unfortunately we currently don’t have the resources to make the changes you would like to see. Only one or two persons in the ubuntu-doc team are actively contributing. As a consequence we have been forced to simplify the desktop guide, and the bulk of it consists of pages from GNOME Help which reflects the design of vanilla GNOME.

Of course it would be desirable that the desktop guide reflected the changes compared with vanilla GNOME which the ubuntu-desktop team has implemented. However, that would require quite some work initially, and also significantly add to the maintenance burden. So it won’t happen unless a few users join the ubuntu-doc team and commit themselves to sustainably work with the guide.

The only thing I can think of at the moment is to simply drop the gnome-getting-started-docs package (with the videos) from the Ubuntu Desktop Guide. When Ubuntu switched from Unity to GNOME, we concluded that including it is helpful despite the differences between Ubuntu and vanilla GNOME. That decision may be reconsidered, but in that case we would need to involve developers from the ubuntu-desktop team.

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I would go so far and say that dropping it is indeed better than providing videos to a workflow users won’t experience.
I try to make a video similar to the clips from gnome. Maybe we could get it in.


I think I’ll ask for input by the ubuntu-desktop team.

That would be great! Which of the videos do you have in mind to replace?

There is about a month left to get it in by the release of 20.04.


Second thoughts… Those articles are very GNOME centric, so only putting “Ubuntu” on the index page wouldn’t make much sense.

Doing something about it would require that the sections are replaced by Ubuntu equivalents. That would be nice, but AFAIK we don’t have the resources to accomplish it, at least not before the release of 20.04. (See also my reply above to frederik-f.)

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Are you accepting contributions? I am happy to submit patches to the Launchpad project.

The reason why I think that this is important is our help documentation is the “front page” of Ubuntu for anyone new. If they’re just starting, the first thing they’re likely to click is that blue question mark.


Yes. Of course.

For ubuntu-docs please use this git repo. For the two GNOME Help packages we don’t have a VCS in launchpad, but the Ubuntu specifics are dealt with in the package source.

The markup language in use is Mallard.

I don’t know about your experience with stuff like this. One way to get familiar with the tools and the workflow may be to start with a merge proposal with some tiny change. That makes it easier to sort out possible issues/misunderstandings before proceeding with more extensive suggestions.

There is a DocumentationTeam wiki, but unfortunately it got obsolete when Ubuntu switched from Unity to GNOME and has not yet been updated to reflect the current setup. Please feel free to ping me, either here or on the mailing list, for further discussion and clarification.

I’m not of another opinion. It’s all about resources.

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Perfect! I can help with that :slight_smile:

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